Friday, July 30, 2021

To Simone Biles

 Dear Simone,

I am not a huge fan of gymnastics. I tune in, I say, "Wow, that kid is amazing," along with everyone else. But I don't hang on it. I have no real interest in whether you compete or not. I am a mom who sees a young woman who needs help. 

Simone, you're smart, you're strong, and you're a good person. You are young. If you're done with gymnastics, then that's great. You can go to college. You can be a lawyer, or a doctor, or an astronaut. You literally can do anything you want with your life. There are people who want you to keep doing gymnastics. You know what? You owe them absolutely nothing. If you've lost your love for the sport, you need to go find your joy. Do something else. Take a break. Go to Greece and stare at the Mediterranean for a few weeks. Read some good books. Watch TV and pig out on chocolate and popcorn. Be a kid. Do what makes you happy. You can do that. You really can.

And for god's sake don't read what people are saying about you, because they don't matter. They really don't. You could walk around the street and most of them wouldn't look at you twice. You can wander around in a cute hat and kicky sandals and buy yourself some pearl earrings. Go sit in a coffee shop and eat eggs Benedict and people watch. Go be a young woman making her own life, and never look back. 

Maybe that will be a permanent change for you. Or maybe you will miss the gym and you'll want to go back and coach, or even compete. You can do that too. 

I don't know if you will ever see this. But if I were your friend, this is what I would say to you. And maybe some other young woman who finds herself despairing about her situation in life will read this and realize that she is free, just like you. I wish the best for you. I think you're awesome! Go be happy!! 

And thanks for everything.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Mr. Smith Should Go Back To Washington

            Who can forget the scene? Jimmy Stewart, his hair askew, his tie crooked, his face slicked with sweat, speaks passionately about the lack of integrity in American politics. 

            We don’t have Jimmy Stewart anymore, but the spirit of Mr. Smith lives on in America, it’s just so hard to find him because he doesn’t have to give a speech anymore. He need only shrug and say no. Nobody has to listen to him give his reasons why. Nobody has to sit through his thoughts on the American experiment, or his rationalization for holding up the business of the Senate, because the filibuster no longer requires objections to be voiced on the Senate floor. It all happens behind the scenes, out of view of the American public, so whatever deals are cut, whatever favors bargained for, are all negotiated in secret.

            If senators are so attached to the filibuster surely they would support bringing back the rule that a speaker must hold the floor in order to execute it. A speaker blocks the vote by speaking. It would be inconvenient, and tiring, and very hard work, certainly, but if the minority really wants to obstruct what the majority of Americans have voted for, they should have to work for it. And if their reasons are sound for blocking a piece of legislation, and they feel so strongly about it, they should have no problem holding the senate floor to speak about it, for however long it takes.

            And the American people should be able to see the process, rather than having to be satisfied with a shrug, and a secret phone call as another year goes by with our government accomplishing nothing.